Dental implants and their journey through history

18th April 2018

Dental implants have come a long way to reach the excellence that our Stafford dental practice can deliver. They weren’t always the reliable and regulated treatment option they are today – like all the best medical and dental treatments, they’ve undergone a vast growth since their first conception. We don’t always think about the beginnings of our procedures, but it makes for some pretty interesting revelations.

If you’ve never considered the history of dental implants before their skilled placement at Abbeyhouse Dental, then you may be surprised. They’ve been a rollercoaster of a journey, with some fairly intriguing DIY elements stretching back through the ages.

 

The first dental implant can be traced back to the impossibly distant past of 600AD. That’s almost 1,300 years ago! This DIY dental implant was placed by the Mayans and was found in the jaw bone of a young female in her 20s. While excavating a Mayan burial site in Honduras in 1931, the jawbone was found with three tooth-shaped pieces of shell and stone lodged in the empty sockets. Assumed they were for cosmetic burial purposes, they’re worlds away from the colour-matched and specially crafted implants we can provide.

 

It wasn’t until nearly 40 years later in 1970 that we realised these shells weren’t placed for burial reasons but were actually placed during life. The bone was found to be compacted and healed around the shell fragments, suggesting the young woman had been very much alive when these makeshift dental implants were placed. This could’ve formed the earliest indication that bone could heal around foreign implants, a fact that we have come to prove and utilise in modern dentistry.

 

Follow us through another few decades to 1952 and meet the father of modern implants, a Swedish man named Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark. The early indication of bone healing around a foreign object was investigated by Brånemark when he discovered the superior healing powers of titanium, which is now used as the root for most dental implants. The discovery that titanium invited bone to heal around it was made when he realised he couldn’t remove a small screw he had placed in a healing bone. This provided the first indication that titanium could, after a lot of research and publications by Brånemark, be used as a strong root for a dental implant.

 

This is the history of the development of the modern and trustworthy dental implant, but it wasn’t without its road bumps. Dental implant placement was being carried out all over the world, with the ancient Chinese using shared of bamboo to restore mouth function. Ouch! The ancient Egyptians used precious stones and even other human teeth to replace those missing for burial reasons, all secured by a gold wire.

 

We’ve come a long way since stones and shells! In ancient times you may have had to hunt down a medicine man or a village elder to perform your dental implant placement. Now, however, you don’t need to look any further than the professional services of our Stafford dental practice. If you’re considering dental implants then first of all, step away from the stones! Come and see us, and we can definitely help.